Elana Brody
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Elana Brody


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"HER OWN VOICE: Elana Brody to debut new album"

Recent Newsleader Article

Article by RUTH JONES of the Staunton Newsleader

On an unusually warm and bright Friday in December, Elana Brody sails into a corner coffee shop, her personality matching the beaming sun and cool blue skies of the outdoors.

After ordering a cup of coffee, she settles in at a round table and pushes her hair back behind her ears, dangling with purple-stoned chandelier earrings.

She starts into conversation about what she's been up to, and it doesn't take much time to figure out that the 18-year-old musician is a fan of music. All kinds of music.

Blues, jazz, soul, indie, bluegrass, rock, conscious hip hop, alternative — you name it, Elana Brody can find the beauty in it.

"I was listening to opera on the way here because it's such a colorful palette," she said. "I love all kinds of music, so it all comes out of me."

She's addicted to composing melodies.

"Creating music, or creating anything for that matter, is the most unbelievable thrill," Brody said. "The art of creation is a process that I am so passionate about."

She's been composing since age 13, and you'll hear a mixture of genres in Brody's music. But the pianist zeroes in on jazz, pop and indie influences for her compositions.

On Jan. 14, Brody debuts her first solo project, "I Can't Be Tied Down," bringing some new songs to the Blackfriars Playhouse stage.

The CD title represents Brody's outlook.

"It's the name of one of the songs on the album, and it really just fits me at this point in my life," she said. "It's just a common theme for where I was at when I was making the album."

The CD release concert will feature not only songs from the album, but many of her original compositions as well. It's a chance for Brody to show everyone the many sides of her creative self.

"I cannot wait to perform at Blackfriars," she said. "It is a beautiful, unique setting that will make for a really special night ... I will finally be able to play every song I've ever wanted to perform without having to cater to the venue or a particular crowd. It's going to be a show of everything I have to offer and a showcase of everything I love doing."

And you can expect Brody to put every bit of herself into the performance.

"Performing is all about giving — giving all you've got," she said.

She pulls from a menagerie of influences for every facet of her work, revealing a certain eccentric openness and enduring desire to create.

"It's all in my head," she said. "I pull ideas from my surroundings. I love to go on hikes.

I grew up in Highland County ... I really love the woods and I love to chase the sun to the western points where it's setting."

It's moments like these that provoke her. Since completing the CD in the fall of 2006, Brody has written a whopping 20 songs.

"Life inspires me," she said. "Usually, it's somewhat a rush of emotion (and) it comes out ... I write what I feel usually."

Her goal is to perfect storytelling through her music.

Expect some of Brody's earliest experiments with music on the CD. As an artist, she's evolutionary. One thing that stays the same, however, is the influence Joni Mitchell plays in her ingenuity.

"Joni Mitchell is the best composer of my genre," Brody said. "And she's had an extremely long career, and I think that's neat and admirable."

She's one person Brody would love to meet.

"I would pick her brain," she said, sighing at the thought. "And I'd probably die if I met John Mayer, too, because I have such a huge crush on him."

When you listen to Brody, you'll hear the likeness of music icons such as Mitchell and Alanis Morissette.

At a December concert at Shenandoah Pizza, Brody set up a mike and keyboard in the corner of the cozy pizza shop. The restaurant was packed with the young and old, and the audience soaked up her vocals over pizza, drinks and wings, pausing to applaud after each song. Brody's pure yet soulful tone lulled up and down over the background chatter with emphasis and emotion as her fingers floated across the keys.

Ann Marshall Thomas, perched on a stool in the back of the restaurant, commented on her peer's performance.

"I just like the fact that she writes her own music," the 18-year-old said. "Her voice is so clear. (I) like the atmosphere."

Brody, for the most part, is a self-taught pianist. She began taking lessons when she was 8 years old but couldn't stand them.

"I hated piano lessons," Brody said. "I quit. When I quit, that's when I learned to play on my own."

A graduate of Stuart Hall, Brody studied music in its intensive visual and performing arts program. She also took on jazz piano at Berklee College of Music in Boston and musical theater at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Most recently, Brody immersed herself in the world of blues during the Augusta Heritage Center's blues piano workshop.

"Now, I've got blues on the brain," she said.

Brody believe - The News Leader


Debut Album: "I Can't Be Tied Down" Released 2007 --Produced and arranged by Bobby Read of Small World Audio in Afton, VA : featuring "Raise your Voice"
Demo 2009 - includes "Back To You", "Sky is Born", "Father Figure", "Rose in Summer Rain"



"Cosmic." - Bobby Mcferrin

Elana Brody combines the spirit of improvisation with gorgeous, evocative music that hints at everything from Tchaikovsky to African chants. She is known for her original music style, impressive and haunting vocal range, and interactive live performances. Inspired by the theater, Elana may take her audiences on wild spontaneous adventures; inviting them to participate in singing and creating songs and stories on the spot. "She's mind-blowing.. and trying to scare everyone else out of the music business." - George Massenburg, producer for James Taylor, Billy Joel, Earth Wind and Fire

Elana grew up singing folk songs and performing musicals with her sisters in the mountains of Virginia. Influenced first by the music of Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Paul Simon, Elana learned the importance of poetic and transformative lyrics. "The things she says in her songs are vital and true and it seems she almost stakes her life on telling them." With lyrics that spill, as if straight from the source, her words speak to audiences of all ages.

Trained at the Berklee College of Music, she picked up a love for virtuosity and poly-rhythmic jazz and now can be found wailing away with her new chamber group - The Band of Angels - in NYC and Boston.